Could Your Small Business Benefit from a Chatbot?

Are you having trouble keeping up with responding to customer inquiries?

Are you or your employees answering a lot of the same questions over and over again? If so, you might be a good candidate for a chatbot. They are convenient, cost-effective and can provide an enhanced experience that will benefit both you and your customer.

A chatbot is a computer program that can hold a simulated conversation with people on the internet. They can be used for anything from simple entertainment to being able to answer questions or carry out instructions. They come in varying levels of complexity and can be useful in nearly any industry. Chatbots work on several major chat platforms, like Facebook Messenger or Slack, or even via text messaging.

If you used AOL Instant Messenger any time after 2001, you may remember SmarterChild, an early chatbot that could retrieve information from the internet, tell jokes, and respond to simple questions. Over the next decade and a half, chatbots evolved with the internet, and are now integrated into nearly every aspect of digital life. Digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant are just advanced versions of chatbots, with access to much more of your personal data to facilitate their usefulness, with your permission of course.

One of the primary benefits of a chatbot for a business is that they can be programmed to respond to frequently asked questions, freeing up your human employees to do other things. They are also perpetually on the clock and never need to take a break, allowing your customers to communicate with you in some form 24 hours a day. Some customers may even prefer using a chatbot over having to talk to a human. They may not have the time or ability to make a phone call, but can easily communicate with a chatbot while multitasking.

Chatbots can also assist customers with basic things like signing up for a service, placing or making changes to an order, or responding to customer feedback. Many businesses implement chatbots as a feature on their websites that is activated when a user first visits the site, or when they reach a certain page or attempt to perform a specific action. Chatbots are a great way of pushing a call-to-action to your customer in a way that feels more personal than a static button or message.

Chatbots can fall into two distinct categories, scripted and intelligent. Scripted chatbots are programmed to follow a conversational path that gives users specific options to choose from each step of the way. They cannot stray from these paths and are limited in functionality.

Intelligent chatbots have much more advanced programming that allows them to seem more conversational. They are better at interpreting your input to understand your inquiry and can feel more flexible than a scripted chatbot. The term “artificial intelligence” is often used to describe these types of chatbots due to how perceptive they can seem at times.

If you believe your business could benefit from a chatbot but aren’t sure where to start, we can help you implement the right kind of chatbot for your needs. Contact Dream Local Digital to learn more about how we’ve assisted small businesses across the country develop cutting-edge strategies for growing their business and enhancing their customer service experience.